By Simon Anquetil - July 14, 2015
Tags: app development, creating an app, how to build an app
I frequently get asked the question “I have a great app idea – but now what do I do?” As a result, I have compiled a list of 6 steps that set out the process of bringing your app idea to life:
1. Protect your Big Idea
This can be as simple as writing the idea down and emailing it to yourself as a record of the thought process and steps you have taken. If you have made some notes, or done any research, scan those notes in and save them somewhere. For more information on this step, please refer to this article: http://blog.apphappening.com/protect-big-idea/
2. Research your market
Do a quick search in the Apple AppStore (https://itunes.apple.com/au/genre/ios/id36?mt=8) and in Google Play (http://play.google.com) to see if anything similar exists. Not only will this let you know how unique your idea is, but it will let you see if other ideas out there include or exclude certain features that would be good to include your app.
Further, by seeing how many downloads the other apps have had, you can start to gauge the size of your market and potential number of users. This is a great place to start to see just how big your idea can be.
3. Validate your users/customers
Who is going to use your App? Once you know the answer to this question, you need to contact them and ask them whether they would use an app like yours if it were available. (Protect the conversation with a Confidentiality Agreement if you are concerned about the safety of your idea). Sparking up a discussion with your users will do the following things:
a) Confirm that people will use your app if its available
b) Give you an idea of the cost they may be willing to pay (if anything)
c) Give you a chance to get some extra ideas from the very people who you expect to use the app.
4. Make a business, not just an app
So you have a great idea, and you want to make some money out of it. You now know that customers would use it, and you’ve determined if they would pay for it. Now’s the time to take this up a step and consider drafting a Business Model Canvas. What is a “Business Model Canvas?” This link (http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas) will answer that question in detail. Essentially, a BMC is the format of choice to help you get your technology business off the ground.
5. Write a good brief for designers and developers
Take the time to thoroughly explain what you want your app to do and how you want it to look. By combining some of the work you’ve already done in Step 1 above, with some examples of similar apps for Step 2, you will be able to build a framework for how your app should look and feel. This is very important information when you go looking for a development partner to work with. They cannot read your mind! So giving as much detail in possible will mean that you have a smooth working relationship, where your expectations are aligned. You can’t determine a cost to build you app without a detailed brief. For some examples of what NOT to do click here: (http://www.boredpanda.com/sharp-suits-worst-client-comment-posters/) and for examples of what you SHOULD do, click here: (https://www.apphappening.com/ah/appbuildingguides)
Another tip for writing a knockout brief is to include a “wireframe.” Here is an online definition of a wireframe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Website_wireframe), and I recommend tools like www.iplotz.com to help draw them quickly and easily. Some other available tools are listed here: (http://www.smashingapps.com/2013/11/19/11-tools-for-wireframing-of-mobile-apps.html)
6. Choose your partners carefully
I covered this in some detail in this article: (http://blog.apphappening.com/pick-best-team-project/) but basically you will need to make some decisions around who will actually design, build and support your application. There are some great marketplaces around that help you find app developers online, along with local application development studios in most major cities. Pay special attention to:
a) The team’s past work
b) Current, active clients who will provide references
c) The team’s responsiveness to your questions and alignment of your vision for the app and the business model
Some of these tasks are more difficult than others, so – as always – I recommend you seek good advice from professionals.
Over at AppHappening.com, our service gives you an hour of free consultancy to all registered members.There are other experts available, through services like http://clarity.fm who will also help you with the process.
The process of creating an app idea, and indeed a whole business to go with it, is intricate but exciting. Following these steps should see you well on your way to developing something great! Wishing you every success on this fulfilling journey.